If there was only one cookie recipe left for me to make, biscotti would be it, hands down!
And not only because it is so simple and delicious but because it is so versatile. From the basic dough, you can go in so many exciting directions. You might even consider multiplying the basic dough then dividing it again and adding different flavors to each portion. My favorite of all is Sesame Anise Biscotti, as it celebrates beautifully our Moroccan Flavors, and is perfectly reminiscent of our somewhat more labored but no less wonderful Moroccan Galettes (Rghaif)
I have provided here my great favorites, but if you come up with exciting flavors of your own, go ahead and add them where you think they will fit best—just go with your personal preference, one flavor at a time please: cinnamon, ginger, cloves, natural extracts such as caramel, maple, lavender, geranium, jasmine, juniper, etc. (getting racy!), all available at health food stores or online. Just a few drops of these extracts are enough for a whole batch as they are very potent and impossibly delicious!
Gluten-Free Biscotti? No problem whatsoever!
My daughter tasted the gluten-free biscotti and said she usually doesn’t care for biscotti but she does love these, then added, uh-oh watch out Mommy will be using this line! You’re right, Bella darling :-)
Vegan Biscotti? No Problem either!
I am including 2 fantastic egg alternatives: flax slurry, and Aquafaba. I hope I can interest you in aquafaba, the liquid found in cans of chickpeas and other beans (preferably white). It’s incredible what wonders it works as egg substitute! I recommend this wonderful aquafaba cookbook
- 3 eggs (only if you are restricted: use 3 tablespoons ground flax seeds mixed with 3/4 cup warm water, or 3/4 cup liquid from chickpea can)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons juice or water
- 3 cups flour: all-purpose, whole wheat pastry, or spelt (gluten-free: skip the juice or water, and raise the flour to 3 ½ cups)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Make the basic dough: Mix the eggs, sugar and oil by hand or with a mixer, until well combined. Add all remaining dough ingredients and mix to make a smooth dough. Fold in the ingredients of your selected flavor by hand and mix again until well combined. The dough can be made up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Divide the dough into 4 pieces. On a very lightly floured board, roll each piece into a 12-inch cylinder. Transfer each cylinder
onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and flatten into a log about 2½ inches wide and ½ inch thick. Make sure the shaped logs are at least 1 inch apart, as they will expand. Bake for 20 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. When the logs are cool enough to handle, carefully move them onto a cutting board. Cut ½-inch slices with a very sharp serrated knife; put the slices back on the cookie sheet, cut side down, and bake again for 20 more minutes or until golden brown and very crisp. (Take one out and let it cool and then taste it. If it’s not very crisp, return the biscotti to the oven for 2 to 3 more minutes.) Store at room temperature in an airtight cookie tin. Makes about 4 dozen.
Additions: Choose from the following.
Hazelnut cranberry: Add to the basic dough: ¾ cup dried cranberries, 1½ cups chopped hazelnuts, 1 tablespoon cardamom, 2 tablespoons orange zest.
Anise sesame: Add to the basic dough: 3 tablespoons anise seeds, 1 cup sesame seeds.
Almond: Add to the basic dough: 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, 1½ cups whole almonds, ¾ cup golden raisins (optional), 1 teaspoon almond extract.
Mocha: Add to the basic dough: 2 tablespoons instant coffee powder (decaf OK) mixed with a few drops warm water, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, ¼ cup sugar.
Lemon coconut: Add to the basic dough: 2 cups unsweetened grated coconut, ¼ cup sugar, 2 tablespoons lemon zest.
Chocolate chips: Add to the basic dough 1½ cups semisweet chocolate chips.
Ginger: Add to the basic dough: ½ cup preserved ginger, packed, finely chopped; 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger and 1 tablespoon ginger powder